punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

You... er, um ... stink.

One of the unfair truths in life is sometimes you have to state someone smells a little bad. Like the rest of humanity, I have smelled some obnoxious odors from people in my day. Mostly sweaty, but occasionally something worse, like rank fecal odor or mold. Sometimes it is an odd smell, like yeast, alcohol, or tuna. In any case, it's never easy to say to someone they smell. It's easier to tell someone you care about in most cases, because with a stranger, you never know how they are going to react. Thank goodness it doesn't happen in my life that often, and if I don't have to work that close with someone, I don't say anything.

While I have been embarrassed, I am always secretly grateful when someone points out any offensive odor I might be giving off. For many years, I took a blood pressure medication that had this ... garlic-like effect on me. It seemed no matter how much I scrubbed or showered, no matter how much cologne or deodorant I put on, once in a while, some nervous employee would take me aside and mention that I had a "hygiene problem." It took me years to determine the source of this, and when I hastily switched to a different medication, that seemed to fix it. Or maybe people stopped telling me about it. Anyway, after years of this, I have become hypersensitive to being near anyone, and every morning I shower and slab on a lot of deodorant. But I still have this fear of some invisible force field that would drive someone away who was too annoyed by my smell, yet too afraid to bring it up.

But I never go too far. Benny Hill once joked, "She wears so much perfume, when she stands still, she leaves a puddle." I used to ride on the bus with some guy who smelled like a combination of mothballs and gasoline. I am sure it was his cologne. I know a lot of female smokers (usually older women) at my work who try and mask this with perfume, and I always want to say, "It doesn't work, ma'am ... try not smoking," but I know asking a smoker to stop smoking is as insensitive as asking a manic depressive to cheer the heck up. It's just the one-two reverse combo punch of burnt tobacco and sharp $2 perfume that just makes it worse.

I have always wondered what would happen if you managed to release a cologne that doesn't smell good or bad, but pleasantly unusual. I think Goths would try it. Too many Goths smell like patchouli or leather to be individuals, and I think at least the Perky-Goths would want to smell different. Like, how about "Chocolate chip cookie dough?" That might be popular. "Vanilla" might be another good choice, or "freshly cut grass," "new car smell," and "fresh paperback novel." I bet job interviews might go better if you smelled like money. Vegas smells like money, I kid you not, and I think they pump that smell into the airport on purpose. It's a cloth-paperly smell with a hint of ink. If you go to Hershey, Pennsylvania, they pump a chocolate smell into the air so you think they are manufacturing chocolate, but the true smell of a chocolate plant is rather unpleasant, what with the refining chemicals and motors for the machines and all.

But if those same sick people who made Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans get ahold of this idea, I am running. Who wants to smell like sardines and earwax?

This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000505.html
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